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' agenda today: harsh criticism of u.n. ambassador susan rice by republican senators lindsay graham and john mccain. they attacked her for saying the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya, had been a spontaneous outburst of muslim anger when officials already knew it was a terrorist attack. and they insisted they'd oppose having her replace hillary clinton, who's stepping down as secretary of state. >> this is about the role she played around four dead americans when it seems to be that the story coming out of the administration-- and she's the point person-- is so disconnected from reality, i don't trust her. and the reason i don't trust her is because i think she knew better, and if she didn't know better, she shouldn't be the voice of america. >> reporter: in response, the president was vehement in his defense of ambassador rice. >> let me say specifically about susan rice, she has done exemplary work. she has represented the united states and our interests in the united nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. as i've said before, she made an app
off suspects. u.n. ambassador susan rice used the edited version in remarks five days after the attack. some republicans have accused her of downplaying the terror link to avoid hurting the president's re-election bid. but senate intelligence chair dianne feinstein defended rice today. >> we have seen wrong intelligence before. and it all surrounded our going into iraq. and a lot of people were killed based on bad intelligence. so and i don't think that's fair game. i think mission takes-- mistakes get made. >> holman: the benghazi attack killed u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. in afghanistan, 17 civilians were killed today when their bus set off a roadside bomb. the victims were on their way to a wedding. separately, two nato service members were killed in a roadside bomb attack in the eastern part of the country. there was hopeful talk today about avoiding the "fiscal cliff" after president obama met with congressional leaders at the white house. a series of tax increases and spending cuts will kick in on january 1, unless the two sides can come to agreement.
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